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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

| September 21, 2021

Cumulus Media Names Two Execs to Multi-Platform Content Development Positions. The new title SVP, sports, content and audience is a promotion for Bruce Gilbert, who has been serving with Cumulus Media for the past seven years. This new title formalizes Gilbert’s role following “consistent accomplishments leveraging the company’s massive sports portfolio to build compelling new franchises and successful partnerships.” Gilbert continues to direct all sports programming for Cumulus radio stations and Westwood One Sports, which also entails overseeing key partnerships with iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, and the PGA Championship/Ryder Cup. Cumulus also brings Doug Cohn aboard as SVP, music & entertainment, content and audience in which he’ll “lead new content development across the company’s platforms, including broadcasting, podcasting, streaming, social media, digital, and live events.” He was previously with ViacomCBS as SVP, music & talent for Nickelodeon. Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips says, “Today’s audio ecosystem provides us with infinite opportunities to break talent out of their traditional lanes and our consumers with the ability to access our products whenever they wish, on an ever-widening array of platforms. Cumulus is bursting at the seams with creative chops and the ambition to thrive in this exciting environment. Doug has shown a Midas touch in understanding what the next generation will want, and Bruce has forged groundbreaking partnerships for years and will now have more runway to innovate – these two leaders possess the vision to produce a surge of remarkable new Cumulus content.”

Broadcast for Broadway. Pictured above at The Hunt & Fish Club on W 44th Street in the heart of the Theater District are (from l-r): The Broadway Association’s Cristyne Nicholas, Broadway historian, NYPost columnist, and WOR morning host Michael Riedel, and WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon host Kevin McCullough. Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer” and McCullough presented the “Broadcast For Broadway” show from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm last Friday night as Broadway shows were staged for the first time since the pandemic began in March of 2020. The program was presented in conjunction with Nicholas & Lence Communications, The Broadway Association, and The Actors Fund.

WARC and iHeartMedia Study Underscores Gap in Audio Investment from Marketers. According to data from a study by WARC and iHeartMedia, although consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, brands only allocate 8.8% of their media budget to audio, while 25% of brands eschew audio entirely. The study concludes that consumers of every generation are spending more and more time with audio content across radio, streaming and podcasts driven by audio’s ease and accessibility with the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers adding to in-car, at home and at work listening. WARC Data forecasts audio advertising spend in the US to reach $13.9 billion this year, a double-digit recovery (+10.9%) from the pandemic’s 2020 cuts, yet the report highlights a large audio investment gap and the vast opportunity that exists in this mass reach and high engagement audio advertising market. The study identified four key types of advertiser attitudes towards audio: 1) Audio Avoiders, the 25% of advertisers who do not invest in audio at all; 2) Broadcast Believers, who have seen the benefits of radio and are beginning to delve into more forms of audio; 3) Digital Only, those who have started to invest but are missing out on the full suite of audio options, particularly the 90% reach of broadcast radio; and 4) Cross-Platform Champions, who explore audio’s full potential and continue to test, learn from and optimize their investments across platforms. iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman says, “The Audio Investment Gap is the single-biggest growth opportunity for brands. With the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers paired with in-car listening, audio is everywhere, and consumers are listening in more places, more times throughout the day. But too many brands are on mute. Brands that right-size their audio investments and begin spending and innovating across radio, streaming and podcasts outpace competitors in finding new audiences, building brand affinity and driving sales.” See the full report here.

NuVoodoo: Delta Variant Keeping the Vaccinated at Home. A recent study from NuVoodoo Media Services on public attitudes toward attending large indoor gatherings indicates the unvaccinated are “nearly twice as likely to attend large indoor gatherings with no COVID restrictions, when Compared to their vaccinated counterparts.” Among the people 18-64 surveyed, 47% were fully vaccinated, with another 10% having had the first of the two-shot vaccines – meaning 57% of the subjects are at least partially vaccinated. There’s another 5% who say they’re trying to find time to get vaccinated. There are 20% who are not interested in getting vaccinated at all and another 18% who say they’re still researching facts about the vaccines or aren’t sure about getting vaccinated. The study found “only 4 in 10 people would attend a large public indoor gathering that didn’t require prior COVID-19 vaccination or other safety measures.” NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert says, “As always, the devil is in the details – and the results change with age. In our sample, which includes only pre-retirement demographics and excludes the vaccination status of seniors, 55-64s are the only age cell in our study where a solid majority are fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates hover around 40% among young women and fall well below that level among young men.” NuVoodoo EVP of research Leigh Jacobs adds, “Our study results indicate that Delta’s impact on event attendance is significant. For example, better than 2 in 5 either will not (or might not) attend business conferences or trade shows. Requiring proof of vaccination lifts attendance among the vaccinated while disenfranchising the unvaccinated. Potential attendance is limited either way. Last week’s cancellation of the October NAB event underscored the value of virtual attendance options wherever possible. Virtual won’t work to replace every event experience, but it can be an attendance-widening addition in many cases – and an insurance policy in others.”

TALKERS News Notes. The new podcast from retired NBA All-Star Metta World Peace debuts on PodcastOne today (9/21). “Mettaphorically Speaking” features Metta World Peace as he interviews a variety of people from the worlds of athletics, music, film and television, and business covering topics including sports, business, mental health and community, with a goal of inspiring and empowering listeners to pursue their own passions and dreams.” PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “Metta World Peace was a force to be reckoned with on the hardwood courts of the NBA and he’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of podcasting. His drive to search for the deeper purpose and meaning in life matches the drive that shone in his career as a professional athlete, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be hosting his podcast.”…..iHeartMedia announces a new iHeartPodcast slate of true-crime shows in collaboration with KT-Studios after their first successful venture together produced, “The Piketon Massacre.” The new slate of podcasts begins with, “The Dougherty Gang.” iHeartPodcast Network COO Will Pearson says, “iHeartMedia is excited to join forces with KT-Studios to co-produce this brilliant new slate of true-crime podcasts. We’ve seen incredible success with KT-Studios and are excited to offer listeners a full slate of new podcasts that delve into everything from unsolved murders to some of the most bizarre crimes in the name of love.”…..This Thursday, WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN Chicago” personality David Kaplan steps off on the second annual Walk As One Chicago charity walk to benefit Bernie’s Book Bank, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing book ownership. During the 24-mile walk, Kaplan and Bernie’s Book Bank CEO Darrin Utynek will distribute free books to K-6th grade students at James Ward Elementary. Since 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has distributed more than 19 million books to Chicagoland children ages birth through sixth grade.

COVID-19, Debt Ceiling Debate, Biden UN Address, Immigration Woes/Border Agents Violence, U.S.-Australia Sub Deal, Canadian Election, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20). U.S. COVID-19 deaths match the number of those who died from 1918-21 Spanish Flu pandemic, boosters, masks & mandates; the debate in congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling; President Joe Biden to make first address to UN; the immigrant situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and the video of border agents on horses rounding up Haitian migrants; the controversy over the U.S.-Australia nuclear sub deal; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wins re-election but fails to gain a majority in parliament in Canada; and the case of Gabby Petito and missing fiancé Brian Laundrie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: “Cave Syndrome”

| September 20, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

WASHINGTON, DC — COVID numbers are undeniable, and anti-vaxxer soreheads are dug-in. So, if you liked April, you’re going to love October. Yet despite the cabin fever that erupted into all those Walmart shouting matches – and that Nebraska woman coughing on masked supermarket shoppers — and the in-flight incidents we see on YouTube, many of our listeners are hooked-on staying-home. Google “Cave Syndrome.”

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Be the Best Talent Coach: Maximize Potential

| September 17, 2021

By Jon Quick
JonQConsulting
President/Founder

 

“Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”

John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance: Growing Human Potential and Purpose: The Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership

 

CARMEL, Ind. — Many programmers just don’t do it, though it’s the most important part of their role, or at least it used to be. Coaching talent for: Great preparation. Powerful execution. Compelling communication. Audience retention. Better relating to the listener.

Ask today’s program director and too often you hear, “I don’t have the time.”

Programmers are often so caught up in corporate matters or minutiae that they really don’t have the time by the end of the day.

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Monday, August 23, 2021

| August 23, 2021

Remembering Phil Valentine. “We are saddened to report that our host and friend, Phil Valentine, has passed away. Please keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers.” That’s how Cumulus Media Nashville news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” shared the news of Valentine’s death. Having spent the past several weeks in a Nashville-area hospital battling COVID-19, the 61-year-old conservative talk show host – and coronavirus vaccine skeptic – died Saturday afternoon (8/21). Last month, his brother, Mark Valentine, told The Tennessean, “I know if [Phil] were able to tell you this, he would [say], ‘Go get vaccinated. Quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about all the conspiracy theories. He regrets not being more adamant about getting the vaccine. Look at the dadgum data.” In a July 26 (2021) interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Mark said Phil was “still very deep in the woods” and breathing with assistance. “He recognizes now that him not getting the vaccination has probably caused a bunch of other people not to get vaccinated. This is a real threat – it is a real public health crisis. His cavalier attitude wouldn’t have been what it was and he would have gotten vaccinated and encouraged everybody to get vaccinated.” Tennessee has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with only 50.1% of adults fully-vaccinated. Modifying the lyrics to the Beatles’ song “Taxman,” Valentine wrote/performed “Vaxman,” which included such lyrics as, “Let me tell you how it will be, and I don’t care if you agree, ‘cause I’m the Vaxman. If you don’t like me coming round, be thankful I don’t hold you down.” In a December 2020 blog, the “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” afternoon drive personality wrote that his chance of dying from COVID-19 was “probably way less than 1%.” He had said of the vaccine, “I have a very low risk of getting COVID and dying of it if I do. Why would I risk getting a heart attack or paralysis by getting the vaccine?” He said  he’d been taking ivermectin, an anti-parasite medication that comes in different forms for animals and humans. Acknowledging on July 11 (2021) that he had COVID-19, Valentine claimed it would not be a problem, saying that as a “precaution,” he might take a day off from his radio show. In fact, his Facebook post that day read: “Unfortunately for the haters out there, it looks like I’m going to make it. Interesting experience. I’ll have to fill you in when I come back on the air. I’m hoping that will be tomorrow.” Valentine’s health, however, quickly deteriorated and his family issued a statement saying that “the experience” had changed the radio host’s mind on vaccination. “Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine.’ [He] looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon. PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “This is a tragic loss for Phil’s family as well as the people of Nashville; WWTN; the talk radio industry; and the national conversation. His track record as a nationally known, super-successful, longtime radio personality is among the best. It is painfully ironic that his position on COVID-19 became the headline component of his sad passing. May his courage to reverse his stance during his final days serve as an effective influence to save lives.” On “The TALKERS magazine 2021 Heavy Hundred,” Valentine appears at #47. Tennessee Republican senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted that, “Phil Valentine was a visionary for the conservative movement, and he made an enormous impact on the lives of many Tennesseans. My deepest condolences and prayers are with Phil’s wife, Susan, and his family. May they be comforted and surrounded by love during this difficult time.” The junior senator from Tennessee, Republican Bill Hagerty, noted that, “Tennessee has lost a strong conservative voice that will be sorely missed.” That state’s governor, Republican Bill Lee, tweeted, “Maria and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Phil Valentine and pray for his family as they navigate the difficult days ahead.” Meanwhile, lieutenant governor Randy McNally also took to social media, writing, “Deeply saddened that we have lost Phil Valentine to COVID-19. He was an inspirational and persuasive conservative voice. He will be greatly missed. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider vaccination. It is the only way to defeat this scourge.” Even though Valentine was a conservative talk show host, he was the son of former six-term North Carolina Democratic representative Tim Valentine. A radio personality since he was 20, Valentine – who attended East Carolina University and the Charlotte branch of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting – protested against a state income tax proposed by Tennessee’s governor at the time, Republican Don Sundquist. Valentine signed a three-year deal in 2019 that would have kept him on “99.7 WTN” through next year. He  authored three books: “The Conservative’s Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z”; “Right from the Heart: The ABC’s of Reality in America”; and “Tax Revolt: The Rebellion Against an Overbearing, Bloated, Arrogant, and Abusive Government.” Valentine and his son, Campbell, joked about their relationship via the podcast “PodGOATs.”  Reiterating a vaccination plea, Cumulus Nashville vice president/market manager Allison Warren comments, “Phil Valentine was a charismatic broadcaster who entertained millions and enriched countless lives throughout his career. A beloved friend and mentor to many, his contributions to our city and his passion for his listeners cannot be overstated. We know he will be missed. We send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Phil’s family and wish them peace during this difficult time. If you aren’t yet vaccinated, we fervently hope that you will honor Phil’s memory by taking to heart the urgent plea he made in the last weeks of his life – please go get vaccinated.” Funeral arrangements for Valentine are pending.

Monday Memo: Empathy? Sympathy? While the parents of school-age children – “the mega-shoppers that our advertisers want to meet” – are confronting “the school year we hoped we would never repeat,” consultant Holland Cooke cautions against what he regards as “a media/consumer disconnect.” And in this week’s column, he recommends an urgent message that can literally be a matter of life and death. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Is Radio Still the Frequency Medium? Do you remember your sales training that suggested a formula for getting results included your message hitting the target audience X number of times? What was that number? Maybe the number isn’t so important. Sales pro Steve Lapa says in today’s column, “Do you remember the thousands of daily ads you hear and see? Somehow your brain filters out what you don’t want to process. But when you’re hungry, thirsty, not feeling well, need a new computer, car, couch, or more cash, the appropriate ad jumps out of the jungle, demanding your attention. And that’s what great talk radio hosts are all about: owning the listener’s attention.” Read more here.

Cumulus Chicago Promotes Mallory Vor Broker to Reporter Covering City Hall and Politics. At news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago, Cumulus Media announces it has promoted Mallory Vor Broker to reporter for 890 WLS-AM. In this role, she’ll cover Chicago City Hall and the political beat for the station, filling the role vacated by Bill Cameron, who retired on August 20 after a 51-year career. Vor Broker was been serving with the station as executive producer for the “The John Howell Show.” In the past, she’s served as a producer for Steve Dahl, Roe Conn and Lauren Cohn during her nearly 10 years as a producer for Cumulus Chicago. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor comments, “As our new City Hall reporter, Mallory will tell the latest local news stories that matter to Chicago. She brings a fresh perspective and deep experience as a storyteller to this integral role. We look forward to continuing WLS’ superb coverage of City Hall and welcome Mallory to the 890 News Team.” Vor Broker says, “I am thrilled to begin my new role as City Hall reporter for WLS-AM 890. It’s a great opportunity to cover the dynamic political landscape in Chicago and Illinois after years of producing high-profile shows. I look forward to continuing to bring high-quality, thoughtful reporting to WLS-AM 890.”

Nate Weaver Named Promotions Director for iHeartMedia Wilmington-Salisbury. Joining iHeartMedia to serve as promotions director for the Wilmington, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland markets is Nate Weaver. He comes to the company from his most recent position with Audacy’s WBEB, Philadelphia. iHeartMedia VP of programming Josh Wolff says, “We are so excited to have Nate join our team. From the first time we spoke, we knew he was the perfect fit. Nate’s impressive background will only serve to improve our portfolio of already strong brands.” Weaver says, “I am super excited to join iHeartMedia Salisbury and Wilmington’s amazing and hard-working teams. Not only am I looking forward to growing brand engagement amongst our portfolio of market-leading stations, but now that I’m in Delaware, I get to really indulge in tax-free shopping – this is great!” The markets include news/talk WILM-AM, Wilmington; news/talk WDOV, Dover; sports talk WWTX-AM, Wilmington; news/talk WJDY-AM, Salisbury; and sports talk WTGM-AM, Salisbury.

iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network to Expand News Efforts; Three Promotions Announced. The BIN: Black Information Network, iHeartMedia’s “24/7 comprehensive national audio news network dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news with a Black voice and perspective,” announces plans to expand local news coverage in all 32 affiliate markets beginning January 2022. The network is also promoting three staffers: Tanita Myers, previously director of news operations, is now vice president of news operations; Chris Thompson, previously director of network operations, is now vice president of network operations; and Lauren Crawford, previously associate editor, is now senior director of digital and social strategy, effective immediately. The company says the expanding local news coverage will create new employment opportunities including multiple news anchor and reporter positions, a managing editor, and a podcast managing editor. BIN president Tony Coles states, “We are incredibly proud of the growth and success of BIN during our first year. We are thrilled to continue our leadership in providing the most trusted news source for the Black community, offering even more local news coverage to the communities we serve. BIN’s success has been, in no small part, due to our dedicated and talented team. I look forward to seeing how Tanita, Chris and Lauren continue to grow within BIN, and I am excited to add even more experienced talent to our team.”

Nexstar Media to Acquire The Hill. The politics and Washington, DC publication The Hill is being acquired by Nexstar Media for $130 million. Nexstar is primarily a television company but also owns news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago. A press release from Nexstar says, “The acquisition marks a continuation of Nexstar’s content-first strategy, focused primarily on news, designed to further leverage and monetize its expansive digital reach… With more than 100 journalists who cover political news and events and provide a wide variety of engaging content to its users, The Hill’s business model is primarily advertising supported by direct, programmatic, and licensing revenue. Nexstar’s omni-channel approach to content distribution will allow it to expand The Hill’s reach and revenue channels while creating synergistic opportunities with Nexstar’s growing national cable news network, NewsNation, and its leading local news gathering platform, which counts 5,500 journalists producing over 275,000 hours of local and national news annually.”

Red Table Talk and iHeartMedia Strike Content Deal. The EMMY Award-winning talk show “Red Table Talk” enters into a deal with iHeartMedia to launch the Red Table Talk Audio Network. The venture will include a slate of co-produced podcasts, including its two current audio series: “Red Table Talk,” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris; and “Positively Gam,” a podcast hosted by Banfield-Norris. The newly formed network will launch five new series over the next two years with iHeartMedia that will allow listeners to go deeper into topics covered at the table, with all-new original podcasts from Red Table Talk hosts and regular show contributors. The first show to launch on the slate will be the podcast version of the EMMY and GLAAD Media Awards-nominated RTT spinoff, “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” hosted by Gloria Estefan, Emily Estefan, and Lili Estefan.

Afghanistan, COVID-19, Extreme Weather/Wildfires, Arizona Vote Audit, Staffing & Shipping Woes, Trump in Alabama, and Portland Protest Skirmish Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the move; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battle over mask and vaccine mandates; the flooding in Tennessee, Hurricane Henri hits the Northeast, and the California wildfires; the anticipated release of the controversial audit of Maricopa County, Arizona’s 2020 election votes; the ongoing troubles employers are having finding workers and filling orders and the chaos affecting the world’s shipping industry; former President Donald Trump is booed in Alabama for suggesting people get COVID vaccines; and the violence in Portland between Proud Boys and Antifa protesters were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Old Habits

| July 12, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — It’s been over 260 years since Benjamin Franklin warned American sellers.

“Old habits die hard,” he wrote and so we are reminded every time we see him on the largest denomination of American currency, the $100 bill.

Yet our digital PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, ACH, wire transfer, direct deposit, etc. society has leapfrogged way beyond anything Ben could have imagined. And so that visual reminder isn’t as present as you may think. But his phrase has stood the test of time and stands tall as a warning to every seller in the radio/audio business. Why do most sellers still ignore someone who organized the first fire department, post office, library and creator of that all time best seller, the lightning rod?

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